The Best Cauliflower Ear Treatment | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

The Best Cauliflower Ear Treatment

May 1, 2008 | Featured in the May 2008 Issue

Must See Football Videos

Cauliflower ear is caused by repeated trauma to the ear. Athletes most susceptible are wrestlers and boxers, but football players can also develop it. The injury doesn’t immediately put you out of commission, but if it is not treated properly, you can be left with a permanent deformity, and possibly hearing loss.

To find out the best cauliflower ear treatment, we talked with Robert Rodriguez, a personal trainer with USA Wrestling.

Because of the several steps you must take to rid yourself of it, “cauliflower is very difficult to treat,” Rodriguez says. “And I’ve treated a whole bunch of them!

“First you have to wait a couple days for the ear to finish bleeding out in the channel. Then we aspirate it and take all the blood out before it coagulates—because [if you don’t do that], you’re stuck with a deformity.”

Cauliflower Ear Treatment

Following the draining, a trainer applies pressure to the ear to make sure it won’t refill. This process takes an athlete out of the game for at least three to five days, because while pressure is being applied to the ear, his blood pressure can’t rise too high. “Once he starts getting his blood pressure up by wrestling, running or doing strenuous activity, that molding will get pushed out of the way and refill,” Rodriguez says.

A collodion cast—consisting of gauze, cotton balls and collodion [a chemical solution used as an adhesive to close small wounds]—is the most commonly used compress. Trainers soak the gauze and cotton balls in collodion, then wrap it close to the head. “As the collodion dries, it hardens and puts pressure in the ear,” Rodriguez explains; “then you put a piece behind the ear and wrap an ace bandage around the head to form pressure, which prevents the ear from refilling.”

Wrestlers can still compete with cauliflower ear. And because cauliflower treatment takes them off the mats for a while, many choose to hold off on the pressure treatment. “If it’s in the middle of the season and they’re getting ready for or competing in major tournaments, we prefer to wait until afterwards,” Rodriguez explains. “Otherwise, [the ear] will refill, and we’ll have to do the whole process again.”

Rodriguez stresses that if you wait until the end of the season to completely treat the injury, you must be vigilant about draining your ear to avoid permanent damage. “Some athletes choose to get it drained three or four times a season so they can continue wrestling while avoiding the deformity,” he says. “If you let cauliflower ear harden and calcify in the ear channel, then you’ve got what you’ve got. It won’t refill again, because all that space is taken up by all that tissue. Then you have to have a plastic surgeon fix it.”

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

Fact: More than 70% of all Anterior Cruciate Ligament injuries are non-contact related. Another fact: Many of these injuries can be prevented with the...

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

3 Causes of Recurring Hamstring Injuries

How to Protect Yourself From Heat Stroke This Summer

How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

Why a Sports Hernia Won't Ruin Jadeveon Clowney's Rookie Season

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

3 Reasons to Correct Your Weak Links to Prevent Common Injuries

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

Where The Best Athletes Get Better

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

3 Ways to Protect Your Knees and Prevent ACL Injuries

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

How Cristiano Ronaldo Can Defeat the Witch Doctor's Curse

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

How to Avoid Softball Pitching Injuries

Will Joel Embiid Be Able to Succeed in the NBA?